Hidden Secrets of Having a Baby That I Wish I Knew

Author: Weiting Bollu | June 2022

When Vishal and I made the decision to grow our family, we knew about the basics. This list consists of things that surprised me or surprised Vishal that I wish were talked about more.

Everyone talks about the food cravings and the weight gain. This list is my personal experience with pregnancy and post-partum so far.

Some findings sent me into a nervous "WTF" moment. Some findings were pleasantly interesting. Altogether, I just wish I came across it during the many articles I read through, apps we downloaded, and webinars I attended.

During Pregnancy 🤰🏻

#1: Pregnancy brain made me very clumsy.
There was a day when I drove to a nearby Walmart where I accidentally scratched the car a tiny bit. On my way out of Walmart, I felt a little faint. I had to take a moment to gather myself so that I can

#2: Hot flashes and sweats came in waves.
There were moments when I was on a video call at work and my entire body just started sweating. It made it worse when my face turned pink/red. Occasionally, I had to turn off my webcam to gather myself.

#3: Swollen feet were very sudden.
Wow, I didn't know my feet can puff up so much! For me, it only happened during the third trimester. I remember days when I was travelling to the office for some team collaboration work and I came back with shoe markings on my feet because they were nearly bulging out of my shoes.

#4: Babies need SO MUCH STUFF.
I remember watching a Mari-Kondo series and being like "does this bring me joy?" and cleaning out the house. When the baby-required items list came up, I was 'Mari-Kondo no more'.

The purchase list to name a few included: baby crib, carrier, diaper caddy, stroller, car seat, burp cloths, clothes, diapers, wet wipes, diaper garbage can (yes, they need their own garbage can), bottle warmer, bottle sanitizer, baby wipes, drawer, breastfeeding sofa, pacifiers, stroller container, baby-on-board sign, baby swing/rocker, play gym, breast pump, breast pump's extra parts, baby spoons, play pen, diaper changing station, swaddle blankets, etc.

The list goes on and the $$$ adds up!

Post Partum 👶🏼

#1: For the first few days, new moms might not produce any milk. I was panicking.

During our first 2 nights with baby Kian, Kian was latching onto the breasts pretty well. We were advised that the 'colostrum' would be there. I thought there was something coming out but looking back, there wasn't anything.

Kian was moving around a lot, looking quite uncomfortable on Day/Night 2 so we decided to supplement with some formula milk while at the hospital.

On Day 3 (Discharge day), I ended up doing a personal self-massage on both breasts to see if there were any colostrum that everyone claims there would be. The massage I did was painful because I was trying to squeeze hard enough to see if there were any contents. I started to see a few sticky drops start to form on the nipple. But come on, it was by NO MEANS enough to feed a newborn. We ended up supplementing again.

On Day 4, I was in a lot of pain because my breasts started forming lumps. My mom (who is a Doula) advised me that it's my milk ducts starting to produce milk. She further advised that I massage it out. I did a manual breast milk collection and got to no more than 5 ml from both breasts. It was by NO MEANS enough to feed Kian. I felt AWFUL.

It made it even worse when we went to see our doctor and she said that Kian only gained 30 grams in 2 days. Newborns should be gaining 30 grams PER DAY.

On Day 5, I massaged the breasts some more and pumped with the Medela Sonata machine again. I didn't last long, maybe less than 5 minutes. I only made 15 ml from both breasts. I tried to keep my spirits high though because I doubled my last production.

On Day 6, I continued massaging and continued to pump both manually and using the machine. I ended up making 40 ml from both breasts on this day. It was a huge win because I more than doubled yesterday's amount. However, I got nervous and we went to purchase 2 large packages of Enfamil Ready-to-Feed Liquid Milk just in case Kian needed more supplementing.

On Day 7, I got to 80 ml on an 18-minute pump session.

On Day 8, I was making nearly 100 ml on a 15-minute pump session.

On Day 9, I was making a consistent 110 ml on a 12-minute pump session.

On Day 10, I was making close to 130 ml on a 10-minute pump session.

On Day 11, I was making up to 150 ml every 3 hours on a 7-minute pump session. At the time of writing it, it is Day 11. I returned both large boxes of the formula milk I purchased because I am pumping more than enough for Kian now.

On another follow-up check-up with our Doctor, she mentioned that Kian is gaining weight perfectly. Back up and beyond birth weight now.

Needless to say, I am so relieved!!!

Size of the baby's stomach in the first two weeks.
There are 3 stages of breast milk: colostrum, transitional, and mature. Plus, milk can be different colours.

#2: Breast milk pumping in the first few days HURTS.
Wow, it was painful. I couldn't last 2 minutes without stopping and pausing that
Medela Sonata machine. I just couldn't do it and I definitely had imposter syndrome. I was constantly wondering how other moms do this.

#3: Spontaneous crying spells emerges.
When baby Kian arrived, I was in absolute shock. I didn't cry. When we got moved over to the post-partum wing of the hospital, the tears started flowing. I couldn't believe my eyes and ears. I was so proud of Vishal and I.

The thing is, these spontaneous tears just ran and ran whenever I thought about something sentimental. Occasionally, the tear ducts would start running for no particular reason at all; for example like the time I thought about my pregnancy pillow. All I wanted to do was get hugs and blow out the snot from my nose. This ordeal lasted for the first 6 days.

#4: The stomach still looks like I'm pregnant.
This was very new for Vishal. This one I knew because Meghan Markle walked out of the hospital and one of the tabloids showed her with a belly. That was beautiful because she is a human being who had just given birth.

I bought these belly
bands set where it binds your waist, pelvic region, and belly. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out how to put it on properly. Neither could Vishal. I just ended up returning it and letting my body do its natural processing. So far, the belly is shrinking on its own without those bands. Occasionally, I used the pregnancy belly band so the excess fluids inside my stomach don't slosh around while I'm walking.

#5: Post-Partum days mean I will be in diapers too. I have no idea what happened that I didn't see this coming. I didn't know I had to purchase DEPENDS or wear mesh underwear until pretty late into the third trimester when a nurse called me.

Around Day 4, I needed to go to the bathroom real bad and I ended up not making it to the bathroom in time. LUCKILY my DEPEND
S underwear was very reliable and nothing leaked. Too much info, I know. But, whew...!

#6: Hemorrhoids are a real thing. Do you know the little butt boils (Otherwise known as PILES) that are near one's rectum? Yes, that's exactly what happens. If you're on painkillers, you might not even feel them. Anusol cream worked great for me and the donut pillow to put on the seating areas.

#7: Need to use the Peri-Bottle to spray water on my perineum region after every washroom break. Wow, that's a lot of work! But, it made me feel really clean. We're thinking about installing a proper bidet now.

#8: Stretch marks might not be as visible, until post-partum days. I didn't quite notice the stretch marks when Baby Kian was still in my belly. It was about 1 week after that had I started noticing a few stretch marks near my belly button and on my thighs.

#9: Post-Parum Days after an epidural can mean lower back pain. Don't get me wrong, I LOVED being able to sleep on my back again. However, every time I laid down on my back, I felt some discomfort as I tried to stretch out my back. I requested my doctor for a referral for some physiotherapy treatment.

#10: When I am cold, it can send cold shivers down my entire body. There was one night (Day 6 Post-Partum) I walked downstairs to do some breast milk pumping. I felt the immediate tingly sensation within my palms and my feet/toes. Shortly after, both the hands and feet started to hurt. After that, my entire body starts shivering. It was something I'd never experienced before and it got me very worried. I now wear socks, slippers, and a sweater whenever I feel I'm not sweating.

#11: Sweating - it still happens. I'd be under a blanket having a great nap. Then, I'd wake up in a sweat starting with my legs. At this point, I would have to take off my socks and pull off the blanket because it's super uncomfortable.

#12: Pelvic Physiotherapy. I had no idea this is even a thing and I still don't know what this is about. My doctor recommended it so I booked a session. Apparently, it helps get new-moms get their pelvic region back into shape with certain exercises. OK cool...

#13: Babies get antsy and/or cry for some sense of reason.

Troubleshooting runbook:
(1) Is there a wet or soiled diaper? It's time for a diaper change.
(2) If no, is the baby cold? Bundle them up.
(3) If no, is the baby hungry? It's time for a feed.
(4) If no, is the baby needing a burp? It's time for a burp.
(5) If no, is the baby just antsy? It's time to give a pacifier!
(6) If no, is the baby tired? It's time to lull them to sleep.